Mason Jar Salads

You need to add this to your food prep list.

I love my mason jar salads; most weeks they are a usual part of my food prep routine. I talk about food prep a lot because I've seen what a difference it can make in a person's ability to make their health goals a reality. I don't mean what you're prepping for dinner tonight, I'm talking about what you can prep ahead of time to make your entire week full of healthy food choices.

I've always hated making salads in advance and storing them in plastic-ware (or even "traditional" glassware). You spend all this time washing and cutting up vegetables, just to find a salad with wilted lettuce and mushy cucumbers a couple days later.

Why I will NEVER go back to storing my salads in plastic-ware or traditional glassware:

  • They usually don't last more than 1-2 days before they start to loose their crunch.
  • I try to avoid plastic as much as possible (both for my health and the environment).
  • Mismatched lids and containers are a nightmare.
  • Dressing! You always have to pack it separate, I either forget it or it makes a mess somehow.

Why I will ALWAYS use mason jars for my salad prep:

  • They keep the veggies fresh for 2-5 days, seriously fresh.
  • They are glass, better for you and the environment.
  • They are all the same size with the same lids! Easy to organize and to grab in a hurry.
  • They fit well in a lunch box or cooler.
  • Dressing is already there, without making things soggy; actually making your salad even tastier.

Here's what you will need-

  • Mason jars, 4-5 if you're prepping for just yourself this week
    • You have to get the WIDE MOUTH jars, it will make it a lot easier to fill and empty
    • I use the large 32 ounce jars, but you could also use the smaller variety. The 32oz provide a large salad, the smaller ones would be better for a side salad.
  • Dressing of your choice
    • I love Tessemae's dressings because they meet my healthy fat standards (most dressings have inflammatory oils in them)
    • I also use plain extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar sometimes
  • Protein of your choice (I have cooked chicken pictured below)
    • Ideally this is a meat option, hard boiled eggs (with the shell on) can also be used but read through to see what you do differently
    • Beans would be a vegan option
  • Crunchy veggies of your choice (washed and cut-up)
    • I have broccoli, celery, red cabbage and carrots pictured below
  • Any other non-crunchy veggie (washed and cut-up)
    • I have peas pictured, cucumbers are another favorite
  • Leafy greens of your choice (washed and prepped)

STEP 1

-Place all your ingredients in separate bowls out on the counter or table.

-Make sure your mason jars are clean and dry.

-Take moment to look at the large amount of color you're getting in your diet this week!

STEP 2

-You will start by pouring the dressing in FIRST. I usually add more than I would to a fresh salad; your meat and veggies are going to soak some up! My guess is about an "inch" worth of dressing if you're looking at your jar.

-I found purple mason jars last week and am loving them!

STEP 3

-It's time to add all your goodies, the ORDER is very important.

-Meat or protein goes in first (except hard boiled eggs), followed by your crunchiest veggie. These are going to marinate in the dressing, I find that broccoli, celery and carrots work well.

-You want to make sure that they fill almost half your jar, this will prevent the dressing from leaking on to the lettuce too soon.

-After your protein and crunchy veggies you can add some "not so crunchy" items, like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes or peas.

-DO NOT SHAKE or stir your jar, you don't want the dressing getting on these other items.

-Add the leafy greens. I try to fit as much as possible in mine, usually I smash down the greens a little to do this.

-If you're using a hard boiled egg you could leave room at the top and place it on the greens, or pack it separately. You will just peel it and put it on your salad when you are ready to consume it.

-Place lids on tightly and keep in fridge until you are ready to eat!

STEP 4

-Pack in your lunch for work or enjoy at home!

-Simply pour out onto a plate and everything will fall into place. If you're in a hurry you could just shake up the jar well and eat right from it, although I recommend putting in on a plate or in a bowl.

Below are some other pictures from various food prep sessions. I use these salads to get rid of whatever veggies are in my fridge!

Cheers to food prep! Let me know what you think!


Meal Prep on The 21DSD!

Do you meal prep? My week is a disaster for 2 reasons if I don't.

1. I don't eat as well as I know I should. This creates a chain of events...making poor choices, feeling worse, throwing a pity party  for myself...

2. It cost more money. If I don't bring my lunch and/or snacks I'm probably going to eat out ($$), or run to the store and get things that are conveinenet that I normally would not have purchased ($$).

So what do I do to prevent this? I spend at least 2-3 hours setting myself up for success. Considering how much better meal preparation allows me to eat, and how much money it saves, its actually worth the few hours. Not to mention the HEALTH BENEFITS. I also know and understand that people are stressed for time. I get it. I have a baby, a house, work more than full time and try to get some workouts in...BUT MEAL PREP IS A PRIORITY. Its just something thats on my "to-do list," like laundry...but its so much more rewarding. This week I'm preparing to start The 21 Day Sugar Detox with some fellow coaches, so things are a little more strict than normal. Im really excited because I think I need a "refresh" from this past month of summer parties, BBQs and treats. Next month I'll post a non-21DSD meal prep session, but its not too different. Here are my steps to "prepare for food prep."

  • Check out what you have
    • This may also involve considering whats coming that week from your farmers market, CSA, etc. if you don't already have it in your possession
    • I look in my freezer, fridge and cupboards to get an idea of what I need to use up
    • I know that this week I have a TON of veggies to use (overload from my garden and from my CSA box this past week)
    • I also know that I have fresh ginger and a bag of sesame seeds that I got on sale randomly last week
    • DON'T get discouraged if you're new to eating whole foods/paleo/allergen free, I have a lot of things in my kitchen that I never thought I would. Sometimes when I would look at recipes everything would seem so odd/expensive, but once you "get going" your pantry builds up! Rarely are you ever buying those "expensive" ingredients.

  

  • Make a list of what you're going to eat this week
    • This is really keeping in mind what you have already, you don't want anything to go to waste
    • This is as complicated as you make it- I don't like complicated so I keep it pretty simple
    • I make a list of veggies (salads, sides) that I can prep ahead, protein (eggs, chicken for lunches and some main courses for dinner) and snacks or "extras"
    • Snacks can be things prepped or easy grab and go items (sometimes I grab a piece of chicken as a snack), changing your mindset of "snacking" works wonders. I'm prepping some extra snacks this week because of The 21 Day Sugar Detox
    • Check out this weeks list....
img_9187-0.jpg

I know I have eggs. I also know I have a busy week and probably won't have time to make my lovely fried eggies, so Im going to cook them all ahead of time. Plan is to steam 1 dozen and then make egg muffins from the other dozen-

BREAKFAST ✔️

I also know I need protein for my salads and veggies Im prepping for lunch- chicken breasts and salsa in crockpot, hard boiled eggs, canned tuna... I'm going to make the mason jar salads last because I can throw all my leftover veggies In them. Here are the ones I made last week-   

LUNCH ✔️

Dinner? Im going to have a few different options (21DSD are from The 21 Day Sugar Detox Guidebook)-

  • Shepard's Pie 21DSD style (I need to use up that frozen cauliflower, and I already have carrots)
  • Beef and Broccoli  21DSD style (I already have broccoli and ginger)
  • Burgers on cabbage leaves (always fast and easy...maybe I should make ketchup and mayo)
  • Cucumber salad (I have SO MANY cucumbers...this would work with burgers or lunch
  • Asian style meatballs with ground turkey

I checked out the ingredients of each recipe to see what i would still need from the store...I tried to pick out items that I wouldn't need much more for.

DINNER ✔️

Snacks...check out this fruit basket, I just need some green apples and green tipped bananas to go with this grapefruit (fruits allowed on the detox). The lemons and limes will be used for some recipes and IN MY WATER. I love citrus in my water. I also have pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, shredded coconut and sunflower seeds to make a trail mix.

SNACKS ✔️ 

And...Im making Lemon Vanilla Meltaways from The 21 Day Sugar Detox Guidebook. Because Im awesome.

NOT SWEET TREATS ✔️ 

  • Make your grocery list and STICK TO IT. Unless you see something that is an amazing deal, you need to stick to your list.

My list.

Its SUPER short this week because I have SO many veggies waiting for me. I also already have a lot of paleo staples- coconut oil, coconut butter, nuts, seeds, etc.    Sooo...that gives me breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for at least 4 days. It will probably last me 5-6 days, because I'll probably have an "off plan" meal or two at some point. Stay tuned these next few weeks! Ill try and post about my own 21DSD and recipes/meals that Im eating.

I'll also try to share more about food prep, I know I've been getting some messages and questions about it.

Happy meal planning!